Ancram town justice resigns amid investigation
Robert Gavin reports in the Times Union that Ancram's town justice, George K. Wittlinger, a non-attorney justice on the bench since 1999, has resigned. That exit came as an investigation into allegations he encouraged a minor to have sex with his teenage son and offering her gifts in exchange for sexual favors, according to the state Commission on Judicial Conduct, was about to become public. After the 87-year-old judge was told in December about the investigation, he was scheduled to testify on Jan. 12, but resigned effective Dec. 31, agreeing to never hold a judicial office again. “Claims of sexual impropriety, particularly where they involve a judge and a minor, must be dealt with promptly as well as fairly, in order to maintain public confidence in the courts,” the commission’s administrator, Robert Tembeckjian, said in a statement. “Whether or not such serious allegations lead to criminal or civil proceedings, the Judicial Conduct Commission will investigate and take appropriate disciplinary action.” The commission said Wittlinger denied the allegations, and his lawyer, William Dreyer, said Wittlinger resigned for health reasons. “After more than 21 years serving the Town of Ancram as Justice, I find it necessary to step down from the bench,” Wittlinger wrote in a Dec. 17 resignation letter to Ancram Town Supervisor Arthur Bassin. “ …(It) has been an honor serving the town and I would like to thank you, the board and the entire Ancram family for your support over all these years.” Read more about this story in the Times Union.